What is the difference between a Marketing Strategy and a Marketing Plan?

Do you understand the key difference between a marketing plan and a marketing strategy?

This is a critical component of seeing results, you must understand what you’re doing, and why you’re doing it. Your marketing efforts have to be backed up by your strategy or else you are going to have a very difficult time seeing results. 

In fact, before doing anything online you should first and foremost start with your marketing strategy as this is the foundation of all your efforts. 

You will most likely see these terms used interchangeably, but the reality is that they actually mean two different things, so it is vital that you understand what they mean in order to succeed. 

A marketing strategy shapes your business; it is your purpose. It is your offer that your purpose to deliver to the world, and more importantly how you go about delivering it. So your marketing strategy and efforts help you to achieve this purpose within your business and strategic goals. 

On the other hand, your marketing plan is driven by your strategy. 

It is the execution; or roadmap of your marketing efforts that will help you achieve your marketing objectives and goals. It is a detailed plan and campaign of your business; more specifically it is what you will do when you will do it, and how you will go about tracking the success of your marketing plan objectives. 

Let’s dig a little deeper, into the two and the key differences. 

Marketing Strategy:
  • The “WHY” behind all your marketing efforts.
  • The purpose of the strategy is to describe how your marketing goals will help you achieve your overall marketing and business goals. 
  • It outlines the main offering that you plan on delivering, who you’re delivering it to, how you plan on delivering it, and most importantly who your competitors are. 
  • It allows you to make the most of your investment while keeping you focused and measuring your sales results. 
Marketing Plan
  • The roadmap to your business’s success. Here is where you execute the strategy. 
  • The main purpose of a plan is to lay the foundation for your marketing campaign. 
  • The plan outlines what you will do, how you will do it, and how you will track results. 
  • The plan supports the strategy and is the action plan you will implement. 
What is included in the marketing strategy? 
  • An Executive Summary, which is basically an outline of your marketing strategy. 
  • The background which describes your business and marketing goals, along with any challenges you may face. 
  • A detailed market analysis that describes the opportunities, market size, segmentation, and the impacts that could potentially affect your business; trends, economy, seasonality. 
  • A detailed analysis of your target market, and audience, their characteristics, and we also like to include a detailed analysis of segmentation that we are not targeting. 
  • A competitor analysis, different categories of competitors, threats, and opportunities. 
  • You’re offering which includes what you will deliver, the needs, features, benefits, and most importantly how you plan on delivering these fabs. 
  • Your message, what does your target audience believe about your company right now? 
  • Selling channels, who are involved in each step of the selling process, your pricing model, your communication pattern with customers, your key channels, and lastly promotion.

If you have a marketing strategy in place ask yourself if you are executing your plan to meet these goals and objectives. If not, this might very well be the reason you aren’t seeing results. 

What is included in your marketing plan?
  • An Executive Summary is a brief summary of the marketing plan. 
  • Your target market which is an overview of your target market, their pain points, goals, buying patterns, and message. 
  • KPI’s – Key Performance Indicators which are extremely important as this measures the success of your marketing plan and campaign. 
    • Sales Revenue
    • Cost Per Lead
    • Client Value
    • Inbound marketing return on investment
    • Website traffic to lead ratio
    • Lead to client ratio
    • Conversion rates
    • Organic Traffic 
  • Analysis of your goals, strengths and weaknesses, environmental factors, here we articulate any challenges to determine the impact on the business moving forward. 
  • Product – what you are offering and how it differs from your competitors
  • Price – How is your pricing model different, and why will people choose you?
  • Place – Where will your target market find you first? What avenues will you use?
  • Promotion – What is the main place for promotion, pay-per-click advertising, blogs, email marketing, organic search engine optimization, know which channel impacts revenue. 

There are many critical components to a successful marketing campaign and plan and they should definitely include the following best practices. 

  • Website & branding – does your message resonate with your persona?
  • Content marketing, strategy, and plan – make sure it captivates your audience.
  • Marketing Channels – which channels are you using to reach your target audience?
  • Social media – what is your posting plan, and what kind of content are you posting?
  • Timeline – this will allow you to measure the overall success of your marketing plan.
  • Resources & Budget – what amount are you willing to spend to achieve results?
  • Team – who is responsible for implementing the plan and allocating resources?

In conclusion, your marketing plan is your roadmap to success, it identifies the plan of action for your marketing efforts. Your marketing strategy, on the other hand, is how you achieve your marketing objectives and goals. 

For those interested in developing a strategy and plan, book an appointment with one of our IDMG specialists today! 

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